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COMPOSERS

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Der fliegende Holländer  Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège  28-11-2011
Richard Wagner
Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège
2011

Richard Wagner's life

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born in 1813 and was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor , although he’s mainly known for his operas and for being both the librettist and the composer for each of his works. Richard was the ninth child of Carl Friedrich Wagner, who was a clerk in the police service, and Johanna Rosine . The father died when Richard was only 6 months old and the mother remarried the actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer who introduced him to the arts. In 1820, he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher . His first creative effort was a tragedy called Leubald, strongly influenced by Shakespeare and Goethe. From then, he persuaded his family to allow him music lessons, which was in harmony in 1828, same year when he first heard the 7th and 9th Symphonies by Beethoven who became his major inspiration, together with Mozart. His early piano sonatas and his first attempts at orchestral overtures are from this period. In 1831, he enrolled at the Leipzig University and took composition lessons with Theodor Weinlig, who was impressed by his talent. At the age of 20, he composed his first complete operaDie Fee which went unproduced until half a century later . He made some radical changes in the concept of opera itself, while theorizing the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"), by which he meant to combine the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts in order to obtain a perfect synthesis of the arts. His compositions have complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. His works greatly influenced the development of classical music. Wagner died in 1883.

Wagner's Operas

Leubald (1827–28), Die Laune des Verliebten (1829–30), Die Hochzeit (1832), Die Feen (1834), Das Liebesverbot (1836), Die hohe Braut (1842), Männerlist größer als Frauenlist (1839), Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen (1840), Der fliegende Holländer (1841), Die Sarazenin (1842), Die Bergwerke zu Falun (1842), Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf dem Wartburg (1845), Lohengrin( 1848), Friedrich I (1849), Jesus von Nazareth (1849), Achilleus (1849), Die Sieger (1856), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1867), Luthers Hochzeit (1868).

Curiosities

Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer

Der fliegende Holländer (The flying Dutchman) is the first musical sheet which marks an essential evolutional step in Wagner's musical language, as well as imprinting his creative genius in the art world. It first went on stage in Dresden on the 2nd of January 1843 and it was originated by a biographical episode of young Wagner: in 1839 he was on a ship which got almost stranded due to a violent storm. Having escaped the wreck, Wagner thought about setting to music a northern legend, which had been handed down in different versions. It tells the story of the ghost of a mysterious Dutch sailor who, having cursed God during a storm, is damned to sail endlessly, looking for a woman (Senta in Wagner's opera) who is willing to sacrifice herself for the love of him, freeing the ghost from the spell. This myth embodies the personality of the Wanderer, a true romantic one, and of his unsatisfied and almost pleased desire of death.
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